Preparing your child for their future
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Beginning in the early years, it is important to provide regular opportunities for your child to make choices, problem solve, and even make mistakes. When children have opportunities to practice making choices, recognising successes, and identifying problems with their choices and options for solving them they become more equipped to function independently and interact with others.
Access to Social Opportunities
Individuals with spina bifida should be given access to the same social opportunities that are available to their peers. This can be accomplished by providing age-appropriate experiences to include interactions with others in social situations, both in and out of school, and by offering opportunities to participate in community activities. These are key avenues through which individuals with spina bifida can identify and build on their personal strengths and thereby increase self-esteem and confidence, as well as opportunities to practice social skills.
As early as possible, begin teaching your child about his / her adaptive equipment such as how to breakdown, transport, and set up their wheelchair, enabling them to be independent and to socialise with their peers.
Provide opportunities for the child with spina bifida and hydrocephalus to develop interests and make choices regarding their hobbies and other recreational activities. The child’s interests and preferences will change over time, which is a normal part of growing up.
During the early years, and through the teen years, families can encourage and participate in regular exercise and physical activity for themselves and the child with spina bifida. Physical activity can help to increase strength, dexterity, and balance all of which can improve the skills needed for dressing and transferring.
Become knowledgeable about the Disability Act and the EPSEN. Knowledge of this act can enable families to advocate for themselves and / or their child regarding access to the environment and participation in all aspects of community living. Families are often their child’s best advocate and can be great role models for teaching these skills. However, it is essential to also provide opportunities throughout the primary school for the child with to learn about his / her rights and to practice advocating for him/ herself so that the child can grow towards independence.